Fortinet Federal Provides Resources, Security Clearance For Federal VARs

Network security firm Fortinet has launched Fortinet Federal, a division that gives government-focused solution providers top secret (TS) security clearance and access to other resources to build out their federal business.

Phil Fuster, president of Fortinet Federal, said that the launch filled a growing need in the Fortinet’s federal business, which he hopes to grow to 30 percent of the company’s overall revenue.

’We’re following an industry standard within the federal marketplace. What it allows us to do is put direct focus on the federal market,’ Fuster said.

One of the most significant features of the new division is that it allows Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Fortinet to hold a TS Facility clearance, while simultaneously removing the need to get board and corporate executives independently cleared.

Sponsored post

Top security clearance is required for government organizations such as military, legislative and law enforcement agencies that routinely deal with classified and sensitive issues and information. Going forward, acquiring top secret clearance won't be an obstacle to doing business in the federal space, Fuster said.

’It’s very important for a lot of the work that we’re doing,’ he added. ’Having that top secret facility clearance is critical.’

Similarly, on the reseller front, the launch of Fortinet Federal allows channel partners direct access and ability to work on cleared and government sensitive programs.

’Now they have also have cleared requirements for sensitive material involved,’ Fuster said. ’It allows us to collaborate with our partners and our customers.’

One government-focused solution provider who asked to speak off the record said that the TS clearance ’goes beyond’ just having the ability to offer services and products to government customers.

The clearance provided by Fortinet’s federal division allows solution providers to actually fulfill the role of a trusted advisor by giving them access to information regarding weaknesses or vulnerabilities in the government’s infrastructure as well as any other security problems and challenges, he said.

"It’s being able to have product conversations between product management and research and development,’ he said. ’They have a difficult problem that they are not able to articulate because of security clearance. Fortinet, being in the security business, means they’re right in the center of vulnerability discussions with their customers. The government vulnerabilities should be protected. How can a security company solve those problems unless they’re taken into confidence?’

That trust is demonstrated with a background evaluation and security clearance, an arduous but necessary step needed in order to help government entities solve their problems.

Next: Fortinet Federal Opens Security Clearance For Partners

By becoming a federal subsidiary, the Fortinet Federal program essentially bypasses challenges created for solution partners in obtaining security clearance, providing a clear path that allows them to have access to federal customers and move from the role of supplier to federal partner.

’If you’re selling something, you’re helping customers try to solve a business problem. But they’re a customer whose problems are of a classified nature,’ the solution provider said. ’They’re not going to share those business problems with you as a vendor unless you’ve demonstrated that you’re trustworthy.’

In addition, the Fortinet Federal program also provides a myriad of direct Federal-focused resources and products for solution providers, including Web sites, G-SKU products, federal-specific case studies, and government-only material provided to channel partners, all housed under one umbrella.

Those market-specific products and resources will give Fortinet partners a competitive leg up in the federal arena, and provide opportunities to add value and boost margin, Fuster said. Fuster said that over the last year, Fortinet had seen a significant growth in its federal business, driven by an increasing number of cyber attacks, new cyber security policies and plans and the consolidation of cyber security into defense units. And looking ahead, he hoped to grow Fortinet’s federal team from 17 to 23 over the next year.

Meanwhile, Fuster said that the newly unveiled Fortinet federal division comes as the government sector has publicly raised awareness regarding security threats while attempting to step up ways to address cyber security issues at a national level.

Last month, the Department of Defense unveiled a comprehensive Cyber Security Strategy , aimed at hardening the nation’s computer systems from cyber attacks and establishing cyber space as another domain to be protected and defended like air, land or sea.

Fuster said that Fortinet was one of the manufacturers that participated in the creation of the DoD’s recently unveiled cyber security document.

’They came to the manufacturers and asked for feedback ’what do we see are the major threats?’’ he said. ’You’re seeing a lot of collaboration, which was not seen before.’